Don’t be fooled by the New Year’s Resolutions crap out there. Statistics state that between 80–92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. The reason: there is a large difference between choices and decisions. Understanding this difference will allow you to avoid this dangerous trap, and set you up for true success.
Understanding does not matter unless you combine it with implementing massive practical action. This blog will show you how to understand this concept, as well as give you practical insight to apply to your life. This will ultimately determine if you win or lose in life, and what legacy/story you leave behind.
Everyone carries emotional scars, hurts, baggage, pain, and deep wounds. What are yours? Have you been abused or let down by somebody you trusted? Have you loved with all of you and in return been stabbed in the back (or heart)? Has someone you were close to been taken from this world too soon? Have you gone all in with a business idea only to have it crash, burn, fail and spiral you into massive debt? Did you not receive that promotion or close that deal you know you deserved? Did you awake Christmas morning to read a message from a great friend whose cancer has returned? Are you that friend who sent the Christmas message?
If the answer is yes, you have made choices and decisions surrounding these events. What are they? Do you understand the difference between the two? Are you constantly finding yourself chained by destructive thoughts, behaviors, patterns and mindset as a result? Do you find comfort in alcohol, anger, drugs, rage, hate, eating three pizzas, pornography, guilt, pills, _______(fill in your blank)? If so, how is a New Year’s resolution going to remedy all of that? The truth is, a resolution, when approached as merely a choice, will not remedy that at all.
A resolution is typically a choice to momentarily behave differently. We make choices constantly throughout the day. Example, I chose to drink café con leche (spanish coffee) and eat tostada con tomate (spanish toast) every morning. I have the option to chose between various food and beverages every morning, and choose to go Spanish style.
A New Year’s resolution is a choice inspired by a social construct around time (Dec 31 to Jan 1) and a sheeplike mentality to follow the masses.
Unless a choice becomes a decision, it will not become an ingrained and wired habit. That is why the gym gets quiet in mid February.
Using my above example, I decided (based on continuing to choose) that Spain will permanantly play an important role in my life. It has impacted me so greatly that I made the decision to share it with others. That is part of the legacy I will leave behind that is greater than me. Now, what was initially a choice to eat spanish breakfast every morning, is no longer a choice. It is a result that happens naturally based off my decision of my legacy, including sharing my Spain story to inspire and encourage others. The consistent daily choice that created inspiration to decide has now become an unconscious action, habit and state of being. New Year’s resolutions (which start off as choices) do not evoke this kind of action, habit and state of being unless they become permanent decisions. Are you making choices or decisions? How are these making an impact in your life? Are you arriving to your destination and vision, or are you massively off course?
Choices are not sustainable for the long term, but when they become a decision to do life a different way, a huge shift takes place! These decisions create habits that become ingrained patterns of behavior, and as Tony Robbins says, “decisions shape your destiny.” What decisions have you made that have shaped your destiny? What course are you headed on? If you continue to do life the way you do life, where will you end up? What is your trajectory?
If you made a New Year’s resolution, excellent! Don’t feel bad about me saying that resolutions are crap. Just make sure your resolution does not end up as only a choice that the masses also make, but rather a decision inspired by something greater than you. If it is not, it will fade and fail. What are the daily habits and actions that are driven by decisions you have made? If these decisions have sucked, thus creating bad habits and patterns, how will you focus on changing the pattern (decision), not just the action (choice)? Only when that happens will you truely accomplish a resolution.
Now that the concept is clear, here are 13 practical action steps to apply today. These steps, when acted upon will change your habits, patterns and ultimately decisions, as well as tactically arrive to your legacy.
- Evaluate what choices and decisions you have made and where they have taken you in life. Where will they continue to take you? What will happen if you continue down this path? What will your story be? Write it down.
- You must decide to do life differently-until you do this, habits will not change. What do you decide today will either exit or enter your life. Write it down.
- Why this decision is bigger than you, and how will it positively impact the world and those you care about? Write it down.
- Set your Destination and vision: your life in the present, assuming you have arrived to your destination. Write it down. Here is an example of M & E Painting’s Vision. It was written in 2013, as if it was 2016. Today I reflect on that vision being accomplished.
- Create and write down an action plan, step-by-step to arrive to your destination. Just like directions to drive from your home to the grocery store, map out each step you must take to arrive from your current situation to your vision.
- As Grant Cardone says, “you will understate your goal by 10, and will underestimate the work required to accomplish it by 10”. Set your goal 10x as big, and plan to work 10x as hard to hit it.
- Turn the action required into a promise to someone you deeply care about.
- Name a “real” accountability partner to hold you to this promise, and make sure they agree to do so. This person does not necessarily have to be the person you made the promise to. A real accountability partner will do just that, hold you accountable. They will smack you in the face (literally, figuratively or both) if you are not DOING, what you promised when you promised to do it.
- Get to work doing what’s important now. Right now! What is the most important thing you can do at the beginning of each day that will step-by-step slowly take you to your destination. DO NOT make a to do list, as these remind you of all the pieces of the elephant you are about to eat. Instead, schedule the task (piece) in your calendar and do it first thing in the morning. Now, schedule the next task (your next “what’s important now”).
- Rinse and repeat. Keep eating that elephant.
- Expect to be massively imperfect in your action. Keep working. Remember that an object in motion will continue to stay in motion unless another force stops it. Do not be, or let others be, the force that stops your motion and action.
- Do not measure daily. Rather measure over longer time periods such as months, quarters and years. People overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in three years.
- Find, subscribe to, follow, or connect with a source of inspiration and encouragement such as a blog, video series, book, event, and people.
These are facts supported by human behavior and motivation, not my opinion. I know with absolute certainty this is true because I have made dozens of resolutions (choices) that have faded, and I have decided to changed patterns in my own life (decisions) that have shaped my destiny. None of my decisions happened on December 31/January 1 of any year. Remember this:
Wait a minute, I just realized I need to stick to inspiration, encouragement and practical wisdom, not poetry. This is what happens when I get super caffeinated early in the morning. Happy 2016! Make it a year of decisions, not choices.
This blog is dedicated to the friend who sent that Christmas message.
If you want to keep getting caffeinated with me, click the coffee cup to the left to receive my latest blog posts, podcast episodes, speaking event updates and videos. I will send you emails weekly that pack a punch of awesomeness!
Having access to incredible stock photography is hard to come by. Let alone stock images and graphics that are free.
That is until I came across Pixabay and FreePic. Both sites offer free pictures and graphics where you can use them commercially. There is a catch though. The only catch is that you have to link back to the site where the image resides. With that said…
Here is a list of the images that we’ve used from Pixabay:
The team of people with which you build your company will be the lifeblood of your organization. Every human being has great potential within them waiting to be unleashed. Imagine them doing so while they are a part of your company. What would if look like if every team member you had was sparked with that moment of inspiration during his or her time with your organization?
Here are 9 tips to motivate your team members to become phenomenal leaders within your organization:
1. Stop calling them employees- Dave Ramsey once said, “Employees come to work late, leave early, and steal from you while they are there.” Companies that have thrived have built teams of people working together around a common goal. Start looking at your ‘employees’ as team members rather than subordinates that work for you. I hate the word ‘employee’ and never use it (other than for the blog title).
2. Speak their language. I mention this tip repeatedly in other blogs and with coaching clients. We are all wired to behave differently. I call this the language of human behavior. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts; some are initiators and some are finishers. Some are assertive and while others are more passive. To the degree you can understand your team member’s behavioral language and then speak to that, you will have high chances of success and connection with them. Here is a FREE assessment you and your team members can take to determine your behavioral languages.
3. What is the one big goal that, if you could help them accomplish, would completely change their life in a phenomenal way? I started doing this with my team a few years ago and the results have been astonishing. Conversations, motivations and their drive in business and the company all stem from this one goal. By helping them and giving them resources to connect to and accomplish this big personal goal, they become more inspired and driven in the work environment.
4. Share in the profits. Something I implemented early on in my business was profit sharing. When a team of people comes together to help you and your company make a profit, sharing in it is one of the ultimate rewards. Sharing and being generous with your team will show that you care about them more than the money they make you. Because of that, they will continue to make your more money. Profit sharing does not always have to be monetary either. Think about taking a company trip or retreat, having a big celebration, or purchasing your team member something they have always had on their bucket list.
5. Have them be part of a bigger purpose- People do not work for a company because of the job description, they do so to be part of a bigger purpose. When you can align your purpose and direction with that of your team members, you will gain high levels of loyalty.
6. Show it don’t say it. It is one thing to tell a team member, “I appreciate you”, and it is another to do it. Make sure that you share your appreciation in words as well as in deeds. Also understand how your team members receive appreciation, as this differs from person to person.
7. Have their back inside and outside the office. When your team knows that you are more than a boss, that you have their back in relation to their goals and their life, they will have your back as well.
8. Help them build and create a vision- many great business leaders have discussed the importance of vision. Entrepreneurs and CEOs are creating and executing on their visions now more so than ever before. Now, flow that vision down through your organization. Help your team members cast a vision and help them see what life clearly looks like 3-4 years down the road. Then tie their vision for their life into your vision for your life and the life of your company. When there is alignment and congruency, greatness will follow.
9. “I never feel like I am coming to work”- over the years I have implemented these strategies and concepts and the repeated sentence I hear from my team is that they, “I never feel like I’m coming to work.” When you start to hear your team members say this, you know you are doing something right!
So what are your thoughts? I would love for you to post your comments and feedback below. Have you implemented any of these strategies? If so, what has worked? What else are you doing in addition to this?
As I coach entrepreneurs, CEOs and business leaders all over the world, I get this question a lot. “What are the big things you did to grow your company?” There are many things I have done in many facets to grow my company, but this is the one thing I always share. Your business will only grow to the degree that you serve and inspire your customers. Without raving fans and excited promoters of your brand, it will not last. As I have spent the last decade growing M & E Painting, and now growing MattShoup.com, here are my top 8 tried and true customer service tidbits to grow a base of raving fans that keep coming back for more.
- Smile when you speak to and interact with your customers. The energy, emotion and output that you share will come across with more positivity. Notice their reaction the next time you sincerely smile when you are interacting with a customer, and take note of your reaction when someone serving you is smiling vs. not.
- It has been said that hearing your own first name is one of the sweetest sounds in language, so when you are speaking to a customer, call them by their first name.
- Drop in an unexpected freebee from time to time. As M & E Painting has grown, we would give unexpected free services or small extra add-ons that went a long way. For example, one cold, snowy day we were painting the interior of a customer’s home. As we were reloading the ladders to the van, we noticed the drive had not been shoveled yet. Two of our crew members quickly shoveled her drive.
- One of the quickest ways to impress is to always under promise then over deliver. When you set an expectation and don’t meet it, bad things happen. Set it and meet it, you are just like every other company doing what you are supposed to do. Where you will set yourself apart is when you set an expectation and then go above and beyond.
- Think people not profit. Too many times, I see companies focus on projections, profits, quotas and margins. While this is important, many seem to forget that what makes all these things happen is serving people. Keep in mind the true needs and desires of your customers, and focus on those first. Think of your business as a vehicle to make a person’s life better, and put all your attention and energy into that. Look for ways to always be serving and bringing value to your customer’s life.
- Understand human behavior. All people are wired to behave differently. Think of this wiring as a specific language one speaks as they behave. Some make quick decisions, some slow. Some people are introverted vs. extroverted. Some focus on the task at hand while others consider the people involved. When you can learn the language your customer speaks and adapt to it, you can make their life better, thus making your business better. Click here to learn more about how this quick FREE assessment can tell you what language you speak in business and leadership.
- It is easy to take 100% ownership, accountability and responsibility when things go right. Now, take that same 100% when things go wrong. I once painted a house I was not supposed to (watch the video about it here). Imagine that look on that customer’s face, well, he really wasn’t a customer, when he pulled up the driveway to his half painted house! I had to own up to the big mistake I made. There were a few brief moments when I thought he was going to kill me, but when that settled down, he was appreciative and thankful that we made the mistake right and fixed his home. When you drop the ball, pick it up, hit a home run and make things right. This is where your true character and real values will shine through.
- Remember, some people will never be happy. Choose your customers wisely. If you have done all of the first seven things phenomenally, and your customer still is unhappy, they may never be happy. It is completely okay to let a customer go.
As you undertake the daily adventure of business, keep these 8 tips in mind. When you become an expert at these, your business will thrive and you will create raving fans for life.
I would love to hear stories and feedback of people who have implemented these strategies and what your results have been. Also, are there any other ideas you have implemented with great success? I would love to hear them. Please post a comment down below.
*This blog is based off original content that was published in InPaint Magazine in a Fall issue of 2014.*
In the day and age of social media, and the internet’s ability to expose and share a company for what they truly are, it is crucial that your company has a positive web, internet and SEO presence. Pushing to receive 5 star and A plus reviews is an important step in this process. Who wouldn’t want to put their best foot forward and show all who visit your site the perfect glistening photos of freshly painted homes, maybe a few testimonial videos and letters stating such things as, “amazing customer service,” “superior quality craftsmanship,” “integrity” and so forth? Once you sprinkle in the SEO magic and combine the age old steps of generating leads, building rapport, making a connection, and asking for business, you should be all set, right?
Wrong. The way we have been taught to market, sell and post all these wonderful reviews will generate business, but not nearly as much as what I am about to propose. I know this may sound crazy, it did to me when I first considered it, but bear with me.
Everyone reading this article has had a job blow up, a pissed off customer, and a complete disaster occur. I have heard painter’s stories of burning an apartment complex to the ground, getting punched in the face (repeatedly) by a painter they just fired, and even one of an entire painting crew being arrested in a drug raid. Not quite the details to include in your shiny marketing brochure…or is it?
I was sitting with a potential customer about to close one of the largest deals I have ever worked on. I was positive I was going to close this deal because of my shiny marketing brochure, until the gentleman threw it across his office and said, “This is crap (he really did, watch the video about it here) . I want to hear some real deal, crazy stuff. I want to hear about a time you screwed up badly and what you did about it.” I was hesitant and nervous to share this because I thought a mistake would look bad and set myself up for failure.
Then I let him have it. I shared about the time I painted the wrong color on a customer’s home and what we did to make it right “That’s nice”, he said, “but you have better.” I shared about painting the right color, but on the wrong house(I have the video here on this one too). “Oh! Now we have something,” he exclaimed. Then I shared the story about the time a sprayer blew up all over the exterior of a customer’s home, painting everything including the customer and her 9 month old baby (Score! Here’s that story). So what happened next?
I closed the deal. My customer wanted to know how I would stand up to a worst case scenario. He was spending a lot of money, and wanted to be sure that my “integrity” was true. Integrity shines when it is put to the test in crisis. In closing consider this:
- When you go to Amazon to buy a book and there are 100 reviews, 97 great and 3 bad, which ones do you click on first?
- If you are sitting in Starbucks, and the people to the left are having a normal conversation while the people to the right are having a conversation about a train wreck filled with drama, which one would you lean to listen to? You have to see this video about a conversation I recently over heard.
- Would you rather buy from a salesman who only showed you a shiny marketing brochure, or someone who was honest and transparent about making “wrong” right again? I was once told my shiny marketing brochure was crap, and it changed the way I sold and related to people in business forever. And yes, I do have a video about that too, that can be found here.
- A happy customer tells 3 people about you, an angry one tells 20. One that you upset and then made things right with tells 30.
Humans are drawn to stories of conflict, crisis and a final resolution. 5 star reviews and shiny marketing brochures don’t satisfy. They don’t build as much trust, interest, or commitment. Everyone has a painted baby story. Go share yours!
I would love to hear yours! Post a comment with your most outrageous painted baby story below.
I remember the first day I started my company. I was overwhelmed and overflowing with excitement. I was making the leap into 100% self sufficiency, business ownership and paving the way for my own future. Then I realized; I needed help. I did not know everything like I thought I did, heck, I did not even know some of the basics. Business was keeping me busy; as well as stressing me out. There was so much to do, so much to learn, and I was being buried alive in my new found freedom. I remember points during my new business journey where I was ready to scream! As I spoke to and spent time with other entrepreneurs, small business owners and executives, one thing became clear. I needed a business coach.
I hear entrepreneurs and small business owners tell me all the time, “I don’t need a coach, I got this”. They also say things like, “I am too busy for a coach” or “I don’t have the money to spend on a coach.” My answer is always the same when I say, “my point exactly.” A coach is the person who will make you better so you are not too busy to get better, and not so broke you can not afford a coach. These excuses are the exact results you produce by not getting a coach.
In business, there is competition. Whether you know it or not, there are others trying to win. Others are trying to beat you. Others want to not just beat you they want to crush you. These others are highly trained, highly skilled and some will be ruthless in their pursuit of business and entrepreneurial success. Know this as you step out onto the field and into business battle. If you show up unprepared, you will be slaughtered.
Here are a few tips as you search for, interview and then hire a business coach.
- Be clear on what constitutes success when hiring a coach. Before you start searching for and interviewing a coach, know what your outcomes are. If you are clear on a vision of where you want to be, and have clear objectives, you will have clear questions to ask when you interview a coach. This will make your interviews more effective and answer what you are looking for.
- Has your coach ever played? – Once you know what you are looking for make sure your coach can deliver. I am shocked and surprised at the number of people that are “business coaches”, “executive coaches”, and “entrepreneur coaches”, and they have never run or operated a business. Or, if they have, it has been far from successful. If you are looking to grow a multi-million dollar company and brand, look for a coach who has done the same. If you are looking to grow a business that runs without you, hire a coach who has done the same (check out an article I wrote about this in INC).
- Can they teach and train you what they know? – You know your outcomes and have found somebody who has produced these outcomes. None of that is important unless he or she can pass this knowledge to you. Make sure as you interview and speak to a coach that they can effectively pass the knowledge to you so you can retain and apply it. Look for testimonials and examples like this one. Make sure they have a proven track record of successfully passing this knowledge to you and your company.
- You should get 10 times the value– As a coach, I make sure I deliver 10 times the value of what my customer is paying. Working with a business coach is a huge investment, so make sure if you make a $1,000 investment that you get minimum $10,000 return. Do not worry so much about what you pay the coach, but that you are getting real value.
- You get what you pay for– A coach that can take your business to the next level can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands per hour. Again, make sure you get huge return. Remember that coaches know what they are worth and will charge accordingly. Do not short change yourself here. A coach that does not charge a lot of money will not offer as much value compared to one who charges more.
I hope this answers some of your questions about what to look for when hiring a business coach. Please feel free to comment and post here if you have any more questions, or need any feedback.
If you want to learn more about tips like these click on the button below.
Think about the most embarrassing moment of your life. I am talking about red face, not sure if you should laugh, cry, run, hide, and/or never show your face again embarrassed. Now, think about that moment occurring to you while in a foreign country where the culture, language, and environment is totally different. My embarrassing moment happened to me while I was a 20 year old college student studying in Spain. 13 years later, I share this story and still get embarrassed about it. I share it first off, because it is hilarious (if you do not laugh, you need to go to the Dr. and get your humor meter checked), and second, it shares an important lesson about life, love and leadership.
Sit back grab some popcorn and a refreshment and get ready to read. You may want to make sure you are not eating ice cream while you read this one.
It was a hot April day in Alcalá de Henares Spain. I was wrapping up the end of a close to five month journey and study abroad trip to this beautiful country. My weekends were spent traveling all over the amazing country of Spain to destinations like Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Valencia, Segovia, Salamanca, Toledo, Granada and Cordoba. While in Spain, I fell in love with the country, it’s people, their culture, history and all around lifestyle.
Oh yeah, and I am addicted to their coffee.
On this hot April day, I walked into a McDonalds to grab a fast, cheap and refreshing ice cream cone. If you do not know Spanish, let me give you a quick lesson. Spanish has a few letters that English does not. One of them being the “ñ”. When this letter is pronounced is makes the word sound different. Spain in Spanish is spelled España vs. Espana which would give it a different sound. The word for cone in Spanish is “cono”. If you wanted to order an ice cream cone you would order a “cono de helado”. Sounds easy right?
As I spent time in Spain, I was surprised about the way they use profanity, dirty words and strong expletives as a part of every day language. One of the words the Spainards use often is “coño”. This word can be used to strongly express something almost similar to the F-word in English. You can use it many ways in combinations with other words or by itself to express something strongly. The literal translation of the word means something different which I will share in a minute. Just remember, getting the language wrong even just a little changes things dramatically. In this case it would have changed what I was about to eat.
I enter the McDonald’s, approach the counter, and greet a very attractive Spanish woman about my age. She asks me what I wanted and I ordered up a “coño de helado”.
As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. My face turned red, I started to sweat, other patrons started looking at this big, tall, blonde haired foreigner who was already out of place in their country. The woman I ordered from as well got very red, very uncomfortable, and then gave me a smile. This was not a happy smile, it was a smile I had never seen before.
The literal translation for “coño” is vagina. I just asked her for an ice cream vagina. Small error in the language. Very different snack on a hot day.
She responded with “that is going to cost you more than 50 cents……………..” followed by “for here or to go”.
The restaurant burst in to laughter. She then handed me an ice cream cone and I ran out of there as fast as I could.
Why share this? Because in life, love, leadership and business, we are all wired to behave, act, and respond to situations differently. I call this the language of human behavior. We are all humans, we all may speak the same language (such as English, Spanish, etc.) yet doing so we all behave differently.
Getting the language wrong can have grave consequences. In this case, the young woman serving ice cream understood my language and made a correction. But what if she hadn’t? I could have been punched, slapped, or maybe went on a date! 😉 If you were wondering, there was no date and I only ate ice cream that day. **disclaimer: my wife Emily is 100% okay that I share this story
As you lead teams, work with others and drive towards a common goal, remember, we are all wired to behave a little different and value certain things when making decisions. None of it is right or wrong, it just is how it is. Knowing the language you speak and behave with as well as that of others around you can pull everyone together for the common goal and purpose. The better I have become at this, the more effective the teams I lead have become.
Here is a video where I explain more about this topic and the ice cream cone story.
Here is a phenomenal resource to find out the language you speak. Feel free to use these two assessments FREE here to take a DISC and Values Assessment to see how you and others you do life with behave.
“Wait a minute Matt, I thought you talk about leadership and being a positive role model and example for others to follow? What the heck are you doing talking about Magic Colorado Marijuana Brownies**?”
Here is why: When you eat a magic Colorado brownie, they will always get you high, or so I have been told. The reason is simple. These brownies carry the ingredients in their recipe to punch you in the face with THC and get you high as a kite.
As a motivational and public speaker and coach, I often receive this question/comment: “Matt, all this personal development and leadership advice is great. I keep working hard, applying typical success principals, yet I keep getting the same results. Why is this?”
Do you ever feel this way? There are thousands of self help, simple systems, and pathways to success, growth and profit, so why do most people buy into them, only to find a few weeks or months later back in the same place? The answer is simple. These people want to stop getting high yet continue to eat magic brownies.
Things don’t change because you still carry the same recipe. What is your recipe? Your recipe is what you will produce 100% of the time when the heat gets turned on. Life happens, there will be adversity, there will be challenge, and there will be storms. The new self help, simple system and pathway to success feels great and is going well until life happens. This adversity and heat (I call it a fight) tests your resolve and you find yourself right back where you were. Does this sound familiar?
If you do not change your recipe, you will always get the same results when the heat gets turned on. You can plug into a new system, seminar, book, counseling, or advice, but if you keep the same recipe you get the same result. If your brownies are laced with THC, you get high. If there is a bunch of salt in there, they taste salty. If you have ever baked you know what I am talking about. When you mix the ingredients for brownies into the bowl stir them, throw them in a pan and into the oven, what do you get every time?
“But I want pizza!” people tell me. “I keep getting crappy results, and I want phenomenal results!”
Then stop mixing up crappy ingredients in your bowl. Your recipe is the pure result of what you carry in your suitcase. As you journey through life, love and leadership you have experiences that ultimately define you. Your suitcase carries two types of items that become your recipe: Baggage and luggage. Baggage is something that somebody else places on you that defines you. Baggage can be either empowering or disempowering. Luggage items are the things that you place on yourself that defines you. Luggage can also be empowering or disempowering.
These items, identity statements, beliefs, wiring and habits all become a part of you and are the flag you carry, whether you are conscious of it or not. These pieces of baggage and luggage become your identity. When adversity happens and the heat gets turned on, these characteristics will be fully played out and produced in your life. Remember, one bad ingredient can ruin the whole batch. Certain ingredients make a tremendous difference in the results.
For example, if you had a life experience that left you angry because of something that somebody placed on your from the past, you will carry anger in your recipe. Studying the newest self improvement, leadership, or growth book will do nothing for you if you wish to be happy. If you carry anger in your recipe you will produce anger in your leadership and in your life.
So change the recipe! Unlock your suitcase and evaluate what you carry and who put it there. Your suitcase carries the tools, beliefs and wirings you need to be the ultra strong, confident, caring, loving, leading warrior version of yourself. If anything in there is holding you back form that, eliminate it! Feel free to download the Plant Your Flag workbook where I discuss unpacking your suitcase, luggage and baggage and exactly how to change your recipe.
Here is a video of a speaking engagement I did recently discussing this concept.
I would love your comments about this concept, and would love to hear your experience if you ever ate magic brownies, as I never have. Go make it a wonderful life, Plant Your Flag, live, love and lead like a Warrior!
**Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting, promoting or encouraging the consumption of magic Colorado funny brownies by eating, drinking, smoking, or any other way you can get a Rocky Mountain High**
Being a father to two beautiful and wonderful children is one of my life’s biggest accomplishments. I am blown away daily by and proud of my children. Riley is 7, and Hailey is 4; each of them with their own very strong, confident and unique personalities. The love I have for them is immense and I do get very protective as well as vocal if I see anything that would potentially harm them. I am guessing you feel the same way as a parent.
Here is a story about how culture, the school system and life in general cheats, robs, and harms our children of discovering who they are, living their purpose, and flat out teaching them the wrong way to do life. This story will be followed up with the 3 S-Words you must absolutely teach your children to live by if you want them to be impactful, develop some grit and make a positive and powerful influence on the world.
Three years ago, Riley was sitting in the corner crying at his pre-school (an abnormal occurrence) when I came to pick him up. Before I could approach him to see what was wrong, I was approached by his “teacher” (the quotes mean I question the mere fact she calls herself this). His “teacher” begins to share all about how bad Riley was, how he broke her rules, how he continues to disobey her, so on and so forth. When she finished her berating, I asked her “what did he do that was so bad today?” She responded that he spit on a child. I asked her, “Did you ask him WHY?”
She was flabbergasted! As she took a large inhaling sigh, she began to tell me that the school never asks “WHY”. I replied, “That’s your problem, I always ask WHY!”
She explained, “He broke a rule and a rule is a rule. He must be reprimanded and punished,” as well personally labeling him as “bad” for breaking her rule. She then asked me, “I bet you didn’t get where you are with life and business by going around breaking rules, did you?”
I bit my tongue. I asked Riley what had happened, wondering sarcastically to myself why he just woke up one morning and turned from a sweet, loving, caring, happy young man to a “rule breaking, bad, disobedient, trouble making spit monster”.
“Dad, this boy was pushing me, kicking me, and bothering me with his words. I told him to stop and he didn’t. I couldn’t find a teacher, so I told him to stop again. Then he hit me in the nuts, and kept hitting me over and over in the nuts all day. I kept telling him to stop, but he wouldn’t, and it hurt and I didn’t like it. He wouldn’t stop so I spit on him. After I spit on him, he left me alone.” I was a proud dad. The first thing I said is, “I am so proud of you for sticking up, for speaking up and standing up for yourself. Your teacher is wrong.”
By the way, when the teacher was confronted with this new information, she refused to even ask the other child about it because “she didn’t see it herself” and “it would do no good to talk to him after the fact”.
Many environments tell and teach children to sit down, shut up, follow rules and trust authority. Now, in no way am I saying that we should raise kids in a loud, obnoxious, rebel against authority mindset. What I am saying is that there are three words, ideas and life values we must teach our kids. Most schools suck at it! Society labels a child as bad or rebellious, and will not take the time to teach them through this.
The three S- Words are:
- Show Up– Life is happening and you do have control over it. Kids must know that there is opportunity in life, and life is not just something that happens to them.
- Stand Up– Get off the stands and stop spectating. Stand up and stick up for yourself. Why? Because too many kids are being taught not to stick up for themselves or anyone else. The bully often has more rights than the victim. Once you learn to stand up for yourself, go and stand up for others. It is okay to fight, as long it is for good reason. You may break the “school” rule, but you will never break the human rule that nobody ever has the right to violate you, your space, who you are and what you stand for.
- Shield up– When you show up to life and stand up in life, something will stand against you. At this moment is where you make it or break it. You can either back down, or shield up. Shield up means you go into battle, you step into the fight. Teach your child to step into the heat, the un comfort, or what I call “the fight”. Showing up and standing up are worthless unless you are willing to back it up, throw their shield up and stand in the gap. This does not always refer to physical fighting, nut kicking and spitting. It can be as simple as your child showing up, being physically present, standing up in the face of a bully, and saying “try picking on somebody who will stand strong, confident, poised and fearless in front of you”. Most times the weak retreat.
And for crying out loud, ask WHY! I have always been amazed when one of my children “break a rule” at face value, and they are able to then explain a very important reason (sometimes only important to them) why they did it. They show me where their head and heart are at, and the motivation behind their actions.
These three S words are not a theory that may work. When you teach these to your children, while doing so with love, compassion, patience, kindness, and positive character, they will grow up to be warriors and will Live the Warrior Way. I would love to hear feedback, questions and comments about this topic.
Life, business, leadership, entrepreneurship, and all other roles and vocations we have are hard. There is stress. It can not be avoided, only managed. It can not be ignored, only admitted. Stress is physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally harmful. If not managed well, it can eventually kill you. I am a keynote speaker, business, life and leadership coach; I train and counsel leaders, entrepreneurs and people from all over the world. One of the top questions I receive is, “I am so busy and stressed. How do I handle this?” Before I share 6 simple steps tips to stay calm as a cucumber under stress, let me share a story about a time I caught a man who had keyed my car in the parking lot.
Talk about stress! Sunday, January 18th, 2015, was the end of a four day keynote speaking tour. I was exhausted, having spent the last 4 days traveling and sharing my message (Plant Your Flag: The Warrior’s Battle Guide to Life, Love and Leadership) in Las Vegas and Denver 9 times. Encouraging, inspiring and pouring my message into people is my life’s mission and purpose, and it is a physically and emotionally draining one. I spent Saturday and Sunday standing at the Denver Convention Center for the Denver Franchise Expo. I finally packed up my booth and walked to the parking lot where I had left my car earlier that morning, ready to go home and enjoy some much needed family time. I had recently purchased a new-to-me car a few weeks earlier, which my wife nicknamed ‘Little Blue’, and it was my new baby. The second I approached my car, I noticed the big truck parked to the right of my car had moved over about a foot from where it was originally parked in the morning. It had been a tight squeeze when I parked that AM, and this truck had been parked right on the passenger side line next to my car. I went to open the passenger side door, and saw a nice, fresh, large, not accidental, aggressive and hateful key mark on Little Blue.
To make the long story short about how I knew the man in the truck did it, let’s just say that there was more evidence than when my daughter steals a cookie from the pantry, eats it, has chocolate all over her face, and then says she did not touch it. I knew the driver of the truck did it, and I encountered him in the parking lot as he was leaving. I approached him, confronted him, and through all this stress (as well as the possible desire I may have had to practice my Jiu Jitsu on him) I stayed calm, handled the situation, and learned some key take away points to share about stress.
(Did I mention I video taped the man who I believe keyed my car as we had our confrontation in the parking lot? Make sure to check it out. Make a comment on this blog on if you think he was lying!)
Here are my tips, advice, and lessons learned regarding how to handle stress, confrontation, and situations that suck!
- Expect it– Stress will happen, confrontation will happen, never tell yourself it will not. Remember, when it happens, not if it happens, expect it. Being prepared is 90% of the battle.
- Step out of the emotion of the stressful situation. I have done, said and acted very stupidly when being in the emotion of a situation. Stepping out and looking at the facts, without a high level of emotion has served me well, and I guarantee will serve you well under stress. Know this it is 100% okay to feel emotional and have an intense emotional thought (I thought about doing a lot of bad things to the guy in this video). Just have the ability to step away from that emotion when the time comes to confront.
- Efficiently evaluate the potential outcomes. When you can do this quickly, as well as be okay with all outcomes and options, there is nothing to worry about. When evaluating outcomes, know that there will be a Best Case and Worst Case Scenario. The outcome will most likely fall in the middle. I knew the three most likely potential outcomes in this confrontation were:
- Lying guy stops lying, admits to keying my car and takes accountability. I am cool with that.
- Lying guy keeps lying and drives away (which he did). I have a $500 deductible, which I quickly earn speaking, coaching and blogging about this situation (which I did). I am cool with that.
- Lying guy gets physical with me in the confrontation and gets choked out (which he almost did, he got a little too close to me at one point). I am cool with that.
- Take a deep breath– Right before I approached this man, I took a long deep breath, reminded myself to stay calm, control my emotion, speak so this man thought he was in control of the situation, never anger, and have fun!
- State Your Warrior Credo-“My purpose on this planet is to lead, encourage, inspire, be a warrior and a visionary to make people’s lives better. I value fight, faith, family, action, accountability, giving, gratitude, love, service, excellence.” In the moments of this man rambling in the video, I was not listening to him, rather stating my warrior credo over and over to myself. This kept me grounded, and kept me and him safe in this situation.
- Keep a safe distance from the dangerous engagement zone- Any stressful situation can quickly turn dangerous to you physically, emotionally and relationally. In this situation, I was well aware there could be a physical encounter and I kept a safe distance. Notice that any time this man approached me past arms reach, I backed away. The few times he got too close, I put my arm out and in a calm voice asked him to back away.
I hope this blog gives you some relief the next time you encounter a stressful situation, confrontation and emotionally charged event. Please leave a comment below, and if you happen to know the guy in the video, send me his address so I can send him a thank you card for keying my car because this video has now inspired a new keynote speaking topic, and maybe even book titled: Keyed Cars: 6 Simple Steps To Stay Calm as Cucumber Under Stress, Emotion and Confrontation.